Sept. 20, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A total of 31 former Kentucky baseball stars finished the 2012 season in the minor leagues and four Wildcats are currently in Major League Baseball. Get all the details on their seasons in the final minor league roundup of the 2012 season.
Brian Adams (2009-12) – San Diego Padres (Class-A Northwest League)
.321/.406/.714, 9-for-28, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RI, 4-5 SB
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-handed hitter finished his UK career after being an eighth-round pick of the Padres in the 2012 MLB Draft. A native of Gainesville, Ga., Adams opened up his professional season with the Eugene Emeralds in the Northwest League. A former UK football wide receiver, Adams played in 12 games in his debut before suffering a season-ending injury. His best game came in a 4-for-5 outing with a double, two homers and five RBI on June 24.
Andrew Albers (2005-08) – Minnesota Twins (Double-A Eastern League)
5-3, 3.67 ERA, 21 APP, 18 GS, 103 IP, 115 H, 15 BB, 76 SO
After leading Team Canada to the IABF Gold Medal in 2011, Albers carried his momentum into the season with the New Britain Rock Cats in the Double-A Eastern League. Albers, a former 12th round pick in 2008 by the Padres, was a force all season, appearing in 21 games with 18 starts. Despite a couple minor appearances on the disabled list, Albers was recently added to the Canadian roster for the qualifying round of the World Baseball Classic.
Chris Bisson (2008-10) – San Diego Padres (High Class-A California League)
.288/.334/.364, 136-for-472, 17 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 46 RBI, 43-56 SB
A former preseason All-America second baseman for the Wildcats, Bisson had a tremendous season in high Class-A for the Lake Elsinore Storm in the California League. The native of Orleans, Ontario, collected a good batting average in his second professional season but shined on the base paths. Bisson finished with 43 steals in 56 chances, ranking fourth in the circuit in steals, behind Cincinnati Reds shortstop Billy Hamilton, former Coastal Carolina outfielder Rico Noel and Bakersfield outfielder Theo Bowe.
Taylor Black (2010-11) – Independent Frontier League (Evansville)
.264/.309/.395, 68-for-258, 12 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 15 SB
Black, a former star shortstop, had a great debut in the Frontier League, playing in 64 games for the Evansville Otters. A native of Easley, S.C., Black finished with 12 doubles, two triples, six homers and 35 RBI, stealing 15 bases and batting .264.
Sawyer Carroll (2007-08) – San Diego Padres (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)
.263/.337/.401, 98-for-372, 15 2B, 6 3B, 8 HR, 56 RBI, 10-16 SB
The first consensus All-America honoree in program history, Carroll had a good season for the Tucson Padres in the Pacific Coast League. The 6-foot-4 outfielder played in 112 games in his fourth full professional season. Carroll, who earned first-team All-America honors after breaking the school RBI record in 2008, stole 10 bases in 2012 and finished with a .737 OBP.
Jordan Cooper (2010-11) – Pittsburgh Pirates (Class-A New York-Penn League)
2-5, 6.68 ERA, 25 APP, 5 SV, 32.1 IP, 42 H, 10 BB, 23 SO
A native of Shelbyville, Tenn., Cooper got off to a rocky start in the South Atlantic League in the Pirates organization, before finishing the year with the State College Spikes in the New York-Penn League. Cooper picked up four saves in the NY-Penn League, owning a 1-2 record and a 4.15 ERA in 11 appearances in the circuit.
Sean Coughlin (2006-07) – Independent Frontier League (Southern Illinois)
.205/.314/.331, 31-for-151, 5 2B, 3B, 4 HR, 15 RBI, SB
A 2007 first-team All-America catcher, Coughlin played in the Frontier League for the second consecutive season. The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder played in 50 games this summer, launching four homers. Last year, Coughlin hit .242 for Southern Illinois, with 11 homers and 49 RBI.
Logan Darnell (2009-11) – Minnesota Twins (Double-A Eastern League)
11-12, 5.08 ERA, 28 GS, 156 IP, 193 H, 47 BB, 98 SO
A native of Joelton, Tenn., Darnell was a workhorse in the Twins organization in Double-A, making 28 starts. Darnell worked 156 innings with 98 strikeouts in his second full professional season. A 6-foot-2, 210-pounder, Darnell has recently earned a spot on the Peoria Javelinas in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.
Antone DeJesus (2005-07) – Independent Frontier League (Gateway)
.270/.359/.391, 94-for-348, 21 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 46 RBI, 11 SB
DeJesus, a former rangy UK centerfielder and leadoff hitter, spent his second season in the Independent Frontier League, playing for the Gateway Grizzlies. He paced the club to the playoffs, playing in 93 games with a .270 average.
Cameron Flynn (2012) – Miami Marlins (Rookie Gulf Coast League)
.259/.333/.379, 30-for-116, 7 2B, 2 3B, HR, 21 RBI, 1-2 SB
Flynn made a big impact in his one season on the field for the Wildcats, before signing as a 23rd round draft pick of the Marlins in 2012. A native of Lexington, Ky., Flynn batted .259 in his first 37 professional games, with seven doubles, two triples and one homer. He played in 37 total games, including 27 in the New York-Penn League and 10 games in the Gulf Coast League, batting .375 in the GCL.
Gunner Glad (2009-10) – Independent League (Abilene)
0-1, 5.55 ERA, 21 APP, 1 SV, 22.2 IP, 32 H, 17 BB, 22 SO; .304/.407/.348, 7-for-23, 2B, RBI
A former slugging outfielder for the Wildcats, Glad played for the Abilene Prairie Dogs in 2012, seeing time in 21 games as a reliever. The Tulsa, Okla., native picked up a save and struck out 22 in 22.2 innings. Glad launched 21 homers in his two-year UK career, appearing in just one game on the mound in 2009. He hit .323 during his UK career with 83 RBI in 94 games.
Neiko Johnson (2008-11) – Houston Astros (Class-A New York-Penn League)
.215/.333/.282, 32-for-149, 3 2B, 2 3B, HR, 10 RBI, 15-23 SB
A former UK speedster from Stone Mountain, Ga., Johnson spent his second consecutive season with the Tri-City ValleyCats in the New York-Penn League. He played in 43 games as a reserve for the rookie-level team, stealing 15 bases.
Braden Kapteyn (2009-11) – Boston Red Sox (Class-A New York-Penn League)
0-1, 1.82 ERA, 19 APP, 7 SV, 34.2 IP, 12 H, 23 BB, 35 SO
A former UK two-way star, Kapteyn broke out during the summer for the New York-Penn League with the Lowell Spinners. As a full-time reliever, Kapteyn notched seven saves in 19 games, with a 1.82 ERA. A 6-foot-4, 225-pounder, Kapteyn allowed a staggering 12 hits in 34.2 innings, walking 23 and striking out 35, with opponents batting a measly .107.
Nick Kennedy (2009-11) – Independent Frontier League (River City)
5-4, 3.68 ERA, 38 APP, 8 GS, 3 SV, 90.1 IP, 98 H, 24 BB, 77 SO
A native of Los Angeles, Kennedy pitched in his second season in the Independent Frontier League. Kennedy appeared in 38 games in 2012 with eight starts, notching three saves and owning a 5-4 record and a 3.68 ERA. Kennedy is coming off his professional debut, where he appeared in nine games for the lake County Fielders, striking out 13 in 10.1 innings.
Matt Little (2011) – Detroit Tigers (High Class-A Florida State League)
4-5, 3.95 ERA, 3 SV, 57 IP, 50 H, 30 BB, 56 SO
A former UK closer, Little had a solid season in the high class A Florida State League. He appeared in 34 games in 2012 with three saves and 56 strikeouts in 57 innings. Little notched seven saves for the Wildcats in 2010, the third-most in UK single-season history.
Luke Maile (2010-12) – Tampa Bay Rays (Class-A New York-Penn League)
.278/.377/.394, 60-for-216, 10 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 41 RBI, 3-4 SB
After leading the Wildcats to the best season in the history of the program in 2012, Maile signed quickly as an eighth-round draft pick of the Rays. He played for the Hudson Valley Renagades, teaming with former UK catcher Michael Williams. Maile played in 61 games for Hudson Valley, just after leading UK with a .319 average, 12 homers and 51 RBI as a junior.
Alex Meyer (2009-11) – Washington Nationals (High Class-A Carolina League)
10-6, 2.86 ERA, 25 GS, 129 IP, 97 H, 45 BB, 139 SO
The 22rd overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft by the Nationals, Meyer dominated two levels in 2012. He started in the South Atlantic League, posting a 7-4 record and a 3.10 ERA in 18 starts, striking out 107 in 90 innings. After a midseason promotion to the high Class-A Carolina League, Meyer made seven starts, owning a 3-2 record and a 2.31 ERA, striking out 32 in 39 innings.
Thomas McCarthy (2011-12) – Chicago White Sox (Rookie Pioneer League)
.302/.365/.396, 45-for-149, 9 2B, 3B, HR, 18 RBI, 1-2 SB
A first-team All-SEC third baseman in 2011, McCarthy had a great professional debut after signing as an 18th round pick of the White Sox in 2012. McCarthy hit .302 in 41 games for the Voyagers, leading Great Falls to the playoffs.
Chris McClendon (2008-09) – Independent Frontier League (Gateway)
.288/.383/.426, 90-for-312, 19 2B, 8 HR, 49 RBI, 7 SB
A native of Lufkin, Texas, McClendon is in his third season played in the Fontier League, spending 2012 with the Gateway Grizzlies, teaming with Antone DeJesus and John Shelby. McClendon hit .288 during the summer, leading Gateway to the playoffs, his third consecutive playoff club.
Marcus Nidiffer (2007-10) – Independent Frontier League (Traverse City)
.241/.347/.409, 62-for-257, 16 2B, 9 HR, 38 RBI
The 2010 MiLB Offensive Player of the Year from the Houston Astros, Nidiffer played in the Frontier League for Traverse City in 2012. He led Traverse City to the playoffs during the summer and earned All-Star honors, after belting nine homers and 16 doubles.
James Paxton (2007-09) – Seattle Mariners (Double-A Southern League)
9-4, 3.05 ERA, 21 GS, 106.1 IP, 96 H, 54 BB, 110 SO
A former first-round pick out of UK, Paxton dominated the Double-A Southern League in 21 starts, missing some time on the disabled list. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound 2011 MLB Futures Game participant, Paxton struck out 110 in 106.1 innings, with opponents hitting .244.
Tim Peterson (2012) – New York Mets (Class-A New York-Penn League)
1-1, 6.26 ERA, 23 IP, 28 H, 5 BB, 23 SO
After helping anchor the best bullpen in the history of the UK baseball program in 2012, Peterson signed with the New York Mets. A native of Puyallup, Wash., Peterson appeared in 15 games, striking out 23 in 23 innings.
Alex Phillips (2011-12) – Detroit Tigers (Class-A New York-Penn League)
1-0, 2.51 ERA, 18 APP, 1 SV, 32.1 IP, 28 H, 6 BB, 29 SO
Phillips was also a force in the dominating UK bullpen in 2012, earning the second-most saves in UK single-season history. A 6-foot-4 southpaw, Phillips appeared in 18 games in his professional debut for the Connecticut Tigers, with one save in 32.1 innings. Phillips finished his season with 8.2 consecutive shutout innings, including a 3.2 inning outing with five strikeouts on Sept. 1.
Lance Ray (2010) – Minnesota Twins (High Class-A Florida State League)
.234/.327/.403, 86-for-367, 21 2B, 3B, 13 HR, 66 RBI, 5-6 SB
A former dynamic slugger for the Wildcats, Ray launched 13 homers in the Florida State League. A native of Las Vegas, Nev., Ray wore down toward the end of the season but finished with a solid line, including 21 doubles, 66 RBI and a .234 batting average.
Taylor Rogers (2010-12) – Minnesota Twins (Class-A Midwest League)
4-3, 2.27 ERA, 15 APP, 10 GS, 63.1 IP, 53 H, 17 BB, 74 SO
Rogers had one of the best professional debuts in minor league baseball in 2012, dominating two levels in 15 appearances and 10 starts. A native of Littleton, Colo., Rogers finished with a 2.27 ERA in 63.1 innings. The 2011 Cape Cod League All-Star Game winning pitcher at Fenway Park, Rogers finished with 74 strikeouts in 63.1 innings.
John Shelby (2004-06) – Independent Frontier League (Gateway)
.239/.309/.430, 79-for-330, 19 2B, 3B, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 12 SB
In his first season in the Independent Frontier League, Shelby excelled for the Gateway Grizzlies, teaming with former UK teammates Antone DeJesus and Chris McClendon. Shelby led Gateway to the playoffs with 15 homers and 60 RBI on the year, including 21 doubles and 13 steals.
Ryan Strieby (2006) – Arizona Diamondbacks (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)
.198/.295/.357, 88-for-445, 19 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 1-2 SB
The first SEC Player of the Year in the history of the program, Strieby moved from the Detroit Tigers organization to the Diamondbacks midseason, After hitting .195 with the Tigers in 88 games, Strieby was released by the Tigers and signed by the D-backs. Strieby then started in Double-A and hit three homers, before moving into the Pacific Coast League for the Reno Aces.
Chris Wade (2008-09) – Independent Frontier League (Windy City)
.301/375/.383, 104-for-345, 11 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 37 RBI, 20 SB
A former star at Lexington Christian Academy, Wade had a great summer for the Windy City ThunderBolts in the Frontier League. Wade played in 90 games with a .301 average and 20 steals in 2012. The native of Lexington, Ky., Wade set a new UK freshman record in 2008 with 24 doubles, becoming the first freshman All-American in program history.
Keenan Wiley (2007-10) – Atlanta Braves (Double-A Southern League)
.237/.311/.293, 88-for-372, 14 2B, 2 3B, HR, 35 RBI, 15-21 SB
A native of Richmond, Ky., Wiley played in 111 games in the Double-A Southern League for the Braves. Wiley had a solid summer, showcasing his solid defense and owning 13 doubles, two triples and 35 RBI, stealing 15 bases. He responded after a violent collision in rightfield early in the year to post a .311 on-base percentage in 2012.
Michael Williams (2009-12) – Tampa Bay Rays (Class-A New York-Penn League)
.221/.293/.288, 36-for-163, 9 2B, 3B, 18 RBI, 0-2 SB
Williams, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., opened up his first professional season with the Rays and former UK teammate Luke Maile. Williams played in 46 games for Hudson Valley with nine doubles, one triple and 18 RBI. He helped lead Hudson Valley to the playoffs in 2012 and finished the 2012 season with a 2-for-2 game with two doubles on Sept. 4.
Chad Wright (2009-11) – Detroit Tigers (Class-A Midwest League)
.256/.323/.331, 134-for-523, 19 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 40 RBI, 21-for-34 SB
After finishing his career just 66 hits shy of the UK all-time career record, Wright began his professional career in 2011 with the Tigers. In 2012, Wright made his full season debut, playing in 131 games with the West Michigan Whitecaps. He totaled 134 hits and 19 doubles, stealing 21 bases. In his pro debut in 2011, Wright played in 69 games and hit .261 with 14 steals.